Focus 1 (of 4) -Childhood is Worthwhile

Focus 1 | Childhood is Worthwhile

Love for trust makes love from trust. When lovingly cared for, we respond in trust.
Consider this ice breaker question to get started.
When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?
See what this Spotlight—and series— is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Ask yourself whom you trust—and why.
Trusting other people can be difficult, and as a person grows up and gains independence they often prefer to truly trust others only when absolutely necessary.

Answer the questions in the survey (by using the following buttons/codes) about trusting someone with your car keys or a cherished, family pet.

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No matter whom you chose, you had a reason that was probably based on perceptions and experiences—both of which are gained during childhood. Because children don’t have these, when they do choose to trust, their trust is very pure, and that’s why Jesus speaks of it so highly:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:17

Welcome Perspective
Children have to trust—which is the point of childhood, where trust accepts love.
Take a breath and meditate on God’s plan for teaching trust through childhood.

In the same way that countries around the world celebrate national holidays to remember and teach important moments in their history, God encourages you to remember and celebrate what he has done. Doing this helps teach future generations how good, loving, powerful, and helpful God wants to be toward them. This plan is summed up in beautiful, poetic words in Psalm 78:1–8.

Watch this video to consider them for yourself.
Be amazed—and share what you think is amazing.

I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.

He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Psalm 78:2–6

Psalm 78 talks about telling children stories of the praiseworthy things God has done. For the Israelites, this particularly meant talking about the miracles God performed when he delivered them from slavery in Egypt and into their promised land.

As quickly as you can, name ten—from past or present, from your own life or beyond—praiseworthy things God has done that would be good stories to share with a child.

One of the quintessential verses in the Bible about childhood is Proverbs 22:6.

It’s a great concept—but it is often too narrowly applied. Most of the time if you hear this verse you hear it used to talk about showing kids how to behave well. Teach them manners, teach them to care for the world around them, teach them respect, teach them a good work ethic, teach them behavior after behavior and they’ll be good.

Is this true? Sometimes.

Is it good? Sure.

Is it God’s greatest priority for children (that they learn to behave themselves)? No.

Look at the four verses in the images below. Adding these to Proverbs 22:6, what might you say God wants for children?

Try this metaphor and see if it helps.
In the song Rocket, the songwriter tells of a time that he and his children watched an actual rocket take off into space. As he tells the story, he reflects on the idea that flying into space feels impossible and is full of risk. (Like life.) As the rocket takes off and (amazingly) makes it into the atmosphere, he feels stuck—but the truth of the success of the rocket makes him think there’s hope. His hope, of course, doesn’t come from the combustion of rocket fuel, but from the love of God.

Listen to this imaginative song.
Lyrics from Rocket by Andrew Peterson

Oh the sight of the mighty machine,
the iron shine of a golden dream!
On the edge of the ocean,
(potential explosion)
stands so tall and so serene.

I’ve got two little boys and a girl in bows.
We were first in line just to see the show—
to count down the seconds
as destiny beckons
into the arms of the astral glow.

And we’re gonna see a rocket,
we’re gonna see a rocket blast through the last of the atmosphere.
Oh, up and away to the great wide open
adrift in an airless ocean
in a bliss of mystical motion
I’m stuck down here.
I’m stuck down here.

Just look at the ground on the grassy hill.
It’ll lift you up but it holds you still
’cause gravity binds us
but glory defines us—
it’s the greater pull of a perfect will.

And they say the ground is gonna quake and groan.
They say the sound’s gonna shake my bones.
It’s so full of meaning—alive and careening—
into the grace of the great unknown.

And we’re gonna see a rocket,
we’re gonna see a rocket blast through the last of the atmosphere.
Oh, up and away to the great wide open
adrift in an airless ocean
in a bliss of mystical motion
I’m stuck down here.
I’m stuck down here.

We stood among the multitude.
We saw the rocket rise in a fiery hue.
It defied destruction
to ride the eruption
and I have found this much is true:
Love alone can carry you.
Oh, love alone. Love alone.
Oh, love alone can carry you, carry you up
and away to the great wide open
adrift in an endless ocean
in a bliss of mystical motion
I have found this much is true:
Oh, love alone,
love alone can carry you.
Oh, love alone can carry you.

As the song vamps to its ending—did you catch what particular future event the love of God is helping the songwriter trust to happen, even when he feels “stuck down here”?

Pray for faith like a child.
Pray this prayer together (if you’re doing this Spotlight with a group).

Heavenly Father,
I want to rekindle my faith;
I desire faith like a child,
Pure, unadulterated, and earnest.
While Christ call us to become like children,
The world pushes us to mature at a rapid rate.
In doing so, we lose something.
Help me to trust,
As a child fully trusts their parents to love and care for them.
Assist me in my endeavor to place myself in your hands,
Knowing that you will always watch over me.
I am your child, O God,
Not because I am immature and incapable,
But because I am beloved.
You have graciously redeemed me from my sinful state.
While my eyes have been opened to the nature of the world,
I long for the simplicity of childhood,
Marked by joy, learning, and growth.
May I rediscover that which has been lost over time,
And, once more, be like those children gracing Jesus’ lap.
For your honor and glory.

(Prayer from

Worship Perspective
Love gives trust a chance—trust is invited to follow. That’s why love comes first.
Get to know “the ways of a child.”

One of the most famous chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 (all about love) has an under-considered concept buried near the end.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

Think through and/or discuss these questions:
  • At first glance, what do you think is being talked about here? 
  • What do you think the “ways of childhood” he mentions actually are?

Here’s the section where that verse fits:

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:8–13

Think through and/or discuss these questions:
  • What seems to be the most important thing in this section (Hint: look at the first and last words!)
  • What happens (in the 3rd sentence) “when completeness comes, what is in part disappears”? Can you give an example from childhood of this actually happening?
  • There is a key contrast here between an “incomplete” version of things and a “complete” version of things. Of the three things listed at the end, which seems to represent completeness?

Reflect on one additional thought before you move on: Jesus was a child. He went through this phase in the same way that all people do, and he trusted in a perfect way throughout his childhood.

You don’t need to have regrets over your childhood, no matter how it went or how much trust you learned to enjoy. Jesus has done a perfect job of being a kid in your place, and God sees you and your room-for-improvement and accepts you unconditionally.

Every kid is incomplete, but they’re also all inadequate even in the role of childhood. This is why every kid needs a savior to help them get back on their feet.
See why children seem to understand love in a special way.
The song is a little older, but the metaphor is still strong. Listen to “The Hand Song” and see how one child (hypothetically) learns to trust God’s love.
Write a letter—a letter to yourself.
Grab a something to write with (whether physical or digital), because here comes the real exercise of this Learn section. (You don’t want to miss this):

Write a letter from your childhood self to you, encouraging the grown-up version of yourself to not forget the trust you were meant to learn when you were little.

Do this all with your understanding that a child sees “in part,” but that the part a child sees is the most important part (like you heard in the song).

(If you’re doing this Spotlight in a group, write your letter together.)

Follow this format/flow to help give you some structure as you write your letter to yourself.

  • Address yourself. (How would your childhood self address you? Would it be with something like, "Dear older, less-fun version of myself…")
  • First, point out ways you've lost the thread of trust as you've grown. (Eg. Remember how we used to actually listen, but now you only like your own voice…)
  • Next, remind and encourage based on scripture and wisdom. (Eg. You can still trust, because you know as well as I do that we're not that smart…)
  • Sign it. (Eg. Yours truly, your young and more awesome self.)
Learn Perspective
The limits of a child’s perspective are why they’re skilled to receive.
Find the answers for orphaned kids in Seattle and across Washington.

Find the answers to the following questions. (Every answer is found somewhere on this web page.)

  1. From Section 1: In cases of abuse and neglect, how long is a child in out-of-home care before a “permanent plan” hearing takes place? 
  2. From Section 2: How many abuse/neglect cases does the average CFWS caseworker have at one time? 
  3. From Section 3: This section talks about finding foster homes and having to have kids stay alone in hotels. How many hotel stays were recorded for Washington kids in 2020? 
  4. From Section 4: Out-of-home care is disproportionately experienced by children of color. Foster parents, on the other hand, are disproportionately white (44%). As you look at the “Median Length in Foster Care by Race” graphic, consider this: The longer a child is in foster care, the less likely it becomes that what will occur?
  5. From Section 5: How many states DO have explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity?
  6. From Section 6: What are ACEs?
  7. From Section 7: This one takes a little math: Approximately what percent of adults who have bachelor’s degrees experienced foster care? 
  8. From Section 8: If 25,000 young adults exit the foster care system each year and 29% of them experience homelessness before reaching age 21, how many new young adults who were in the foster-care system experience homelessness each year? 
Meet Treehouse.

Treehouse is a Seattle-based non-profit that works to facilitate success for kids in foster care. You’ll have the chance to learn about them and their work over the rest of this series.

Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective
You help children trust by being the fulfillment of God's promise to take care of them.
Pray for trust for you and for children everywhere.
Continue your prayer by reflecting on the prayer of a mother for her children in the song “Song for My Sons.”
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
Trust is the lesson you learn as a child that you need for the rest of existence.
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.
Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.

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